Circular 12/24 Middle East Area of Operation (MEAO) Commemoration on 11 July

In accordance with Motion 6.3, that was carried by delegates at the 2023 Annual General Meeting, RSL NSW is proceeding with an inaugural Middle East Area of Operations (MEAO) commemoration on 11 July 2024, and continues to lobby RSL Australia for a national commemorative day.

The MEAO commemoration will honour those ADF personnel who served in conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan during 2001 – 2021 and marks the date troops were withdrawn on 11 July 2021. ANZAC House is seeking feedback from the Young Veterans Committee to ensure the event meets the expectations of this cohort.

An official service will take place at the Cenotaph in Martin Place, Sydney, at 11am on Thursday 11 July 2024. All RSL NSW members, the wider veteran community, and members of the public are welcome to attend. More information about the commemoration will be announced closer to the date.

In the meantime, sub-Branches are encouraged to consider how they can facilitate a commemoration in their communities. ANZAC House will pilot a school-based ‘Postcards of Honour’ campaign as a way for sub-Branches to engage with local schools, and boost awareness of the MEAO commemoration.


‘Postcards of Honour’ campaign 

To educate young Australians about the MEAO commemoration in the community, ANZAC House is calling on up to 80 sub-Branches to participate in a primary and high school engagement activity.

In accordance with Goal 6 ‘Commemorate and pay respect’ of the RSL NSW Strategic Plan 2021-2026, and after the successful ‘Draw to Remember’ campaign in 2023, ANZAC House will pilot a ‘Postcards of Honour’ campaign to inform the development of a suite of school-based learning materials in 2024.

Combining commemoration and education, Postcards of Honour allows school students, from primary and high schools, to learn from local veterans about the significance of the MEAO commemoration and express their learnings or personal connections to Australia’s military history through drawings and letters. This program was developed and piloted by RSL QLD with resounding success in 2023.

RSL NSW members will play an active role in engaging local schools in their community, supplying, and presenting learning material to students, and visiting the school to collect the postcards and receive a ‘show and tell’ from the students. ANZAC House will work with participating sub-Branches on the media opportunity that this campaign presents.

Participating sub-Branches will be fully briefed on the campaign and will be equipped with instructions and activity packs (including blank postcards and educational resources) to work with up to two local primary schools and one high school.

This pilot campaign is possible due to the generous donations from sub-Branches to the implementation of the RSL NSW Strategic Plan, via the Veteran Support Fund.

If your sub-Branch would like to participate in this pilot program, please register your interest by completing a short form here, on or before 18 March 2024.

Interested sub-Branches will receive an invite to participate in a virtual information session at 12pm on Wednesday 20 March 2024.